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Know Why People Are in Their Roles

There are four reasons people ask for a promotion or being in a particular role, and you need to know that otherwise, you won't know how to manage that person going forward. The reason will also clearly indicate what you can expect from that person in terms of performance.


1. The person wants to make a difference in the workplace by stepping into that role. They want to achieve something for themselves and the greater good.

These guys are natural goal-setters and internally motivated. They will activate and drive through initiatives and they want recognition. So let them. They will move the organisation forward and they will gain an immense amount of satisfaction from it. If you want to demotivate them, hire them into organisations that don't want change, have no goals or the role is about keeping the business running as it is.


2. The person is insecure and needs that title in the LinkedIn profile. You can see that easily when the person posts on LinkedIn, "I am happy to share that I am starting a new position.." on the same day as their employment starts. The real flex is when you have the job, but you don't put it on LinkedIn 😉 😜


Seeking a title for personal validation doesn't necessarily imply a lack of performance capability. However, individuals driven by external recognition (such as a title) will require some encouragement. Their motivation is predominantly extrinsic, indicating that to foster their success, external rewards will likely be more effective in motivating them. They will need nudging to perform.


You can nudge them with fame, reputation, financial reward, or other sorts of recognition. An interview with an industry magazine, an invite to speak at conferences, and an industry award can drive their performance. They are not very likely to do something for others because it makes them feel good. They want to be recognised for it, this is what they gain satisfaction from. So if you want to demotivate them, deprive them of extrinsic motivations and the opportunity to be seen.


3. The person wants more money. Nothing wrong with it. We all work for money.

It's easy, they want money and they will do everything to get it, and that's how you motivate them. This is the easiest way of motivation and I love people who are in it for the bucks. They give you no hassle, no complaints about I am bored, I need a purpose, I need attention from my manager, I need training, I want to learn and grow. They have a purpose and that's to make money to build their lives. They are transactional and unemotional about work. They come to do the job and pick up the salary. I love them.


How to demotivate them? Pay poorly and have no opportunity to make extra money.

They come with a warning though. They tend to overwork themselves and hence are prone to burnout and are happy to compromise the quality of work for the extra $. Keep your eyes on them because they are in it for the money not to provide quality work. Make sure that you also emphasise the quality of their output and subject pay accordingly.


4. The person wants to progress, and it is an intrinsic drive to grow and offer their skills, knowledge, expertise, etc., to others. They are natural learners, very curious and inquisitive and want to use their expertise for the greater good. They like to be viewed as subject matter experts. They are uniquely skilled and intelligent individuals who contribute significant value and resist conforming to conventional career norms. They are the masters in their fields and expertise and they want you to leave them alone.


They are highly competent and hardworking, with little need or desire for management guidance or supervision. They are very good at self-teaching and tend to have extensive connections within their knowledge community.


They are engaged in their work and see the workplace as a place to pursue intellectual passions and not as a place to achieve or a family. They keep these things separate.


They likely won’t look for other job opportunities as long as they are free to work on projects in their style. So if you want to demotivate them take that freedom away.


So here it is, if you have the WHY, you will know the HOW and the WHAT...... How the person is going to do the job and what you can expect in terms of performance and managing the people.

Find out why your people are in their roles and you will know how to manage them. If you want to read other practices about how to manage people:




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